Letters for August 1, 2013

Editor’s note: Last week, I wrote a column asking people if they knew anything that worked against these seasonal allergies that have been so rough this year. At any rate, while all of these letters came to me, the editor, some I’m sure came without the intention of seeing their names in print. Still there’s a lot of wisdom and information in here, so I’ll run them without attribution. Thanks to everyone who offered their advice and sympathy.

All choked up

Re “All choked up” (Editor’s Note, July 25):

I am Queen of Allergies, allergic to so many things it’s a shorter list to say what I am not allergic to. I suffer from all of the typical pollen and dander allergies, and I’m sensitive to just about everything going including lots of foods, legumes in particular (soy, peanuts), and even yellow jackets. I always have been. Sometimes they land me in the hospital, and I have to take steroids to clear them up.

So, I suffer. I make my husband vacuum and change the HVAC filters at unreasonable intervals. I take Claritin and compensate by drinking coffee. And sometimes I take Benadryl. I take half a pill at night since it’s drowsy-making and after a few nights, I’m feeling fine and allergy free. Have you tried this? And I’ve tried allergy shots, but they just don’t work for me because I am too sensitive. The most effective thing I have done is acupuncture. It takes time—each season has different pollens—so each year you do it again and over the long-term, a few years, your sensitivity decreases. I take cat hair and dog hair in, too. I notice immediate effects, probably because acupuncture sets my whole system right, puts everything in balance. But it wears off over days and weeks. But then you can do it again. It’s a wonderful healing medicine. All in all, I can fight the allergies better when I’m healthy and haven’t started to experience symptoms; I take Benadryl proactively in the spring and fall. Once I’m in the allergy pit of despair it is really hard to climb out, so I try to stay out in the first place.

I hope this gives you a few things to consider. Something else I heard years ago: Dr. Dean Edell on Channel 3 in Sac said that those of us who suffer from allergies have dramatically lower risks of cancer (because our immune systems are overreactive). I read in an allergy magazine several months ago that allergy sufferers have dramatically fewer brain aneurysms, too (same reason). So if nothing else, count your blessings.

Keep using the neti pot, love the neti pot! I see Kristin Field for acupuncture and also go to Dr. Nancy Conley’s office for medical care (they offer acupuncture too). Lots of medical insurances cover acupuncture.


Just read your Editor’s Note on allergies. I have used Afrin Nasal Spray (non-drip version) for the last few years during allergy season. I use half the recommended dose—only one spray in each nostril. It’s the only thing I have found that works almost instantaneously with no side effects. With a full dose, I do feel mildly antsy, but no noticeable side effects at all with a half dose. 


I have also been a sufferer of severe allergies: cat dander, tree pollens, grasses, etc. A few years back, I discovered the only remedy, after trying OTC allergy medicines, experimental scientific drugs—Hismanal, which has since been withdrawn from the U.S. market—and others I can’t recall the names of. I found a product called Kenalog. It is a once-a-year shot administered by my family doctor. Allergies were reduced by 90 percent, and the few I still suffer are very mild.


Good news! I too developed allergies here in Reno and discovered a good treatment: Zicam nose drops. I told my sister in Chicago, and she says I saved her life, and she uses them daily. Unfortunately, they are hard to find. When you do find them, buy plenty. Toll free (877) 942-2626 for questions at the company. The active ingredient is oxmetazoline and not epinephrine. Also, I had to remove several beautiful flowering plants from my yard as they were contributing to my misery.


Allergies can be a “motha,” can’t they? I have lived here about 30 years now. First 20, no problems; last 10, pretty big problem.

My first line of defense is Claritin-D 12 hour. I know you said anything with ’D’ wigs you out. Me too, but not the 12-hour stuff. Yes, it has the bad stuff in it because you have to show your I.D. to get it, but for me it’s a miracle drug. Having said that, it’s expensive, $30 for 30 tablets, plus the sales counter person thinks you’re boiling up meth with it.

This stuff works quick, but I don’t want to take it year round. Around June 1, I get a Kenilog shot. Yes, it’s some kind of steroid, but I only have to take it one time a year, and it gives me 70-80 percent relief within 24 hours and 99 percent relief by 48 hours.

Well, now that you are miserable from the dry, blowing heated particles invading your body, good luck. And yes, it seems to be worse in our dry, windy years. Keeping hydrated by drinking a lot of water seems to help.


I suffered for about 15 years and was under the impression that allergies could never be cured, but low and behold, I found something that worked for me after trying all of the chemicals across the counter at every store in Nevada. I came across a homeopathic product called Luffeel Nasal Spray, which is distributed by Heel Incorporated. Anyway, I used this product for a total of about 15 times, and it made the symptoms dissipate to almost nothing. I used it a couple of times a year, and now it’s basically something I keep in the truck and I use maybe once or twice a year.


One method that I have found to greatly reduce my irritation from allergens is to treat the allergens like a biological attack. Back when I was a nuclear weapons officer in the Navy, we used to practice getting doused with chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

The key is to set up your home as a clean zone. When you come home, enter the house via the laundry room or go directly to the laundry via the shortest route. Strip off your clothes and head straight for the shower. Scrub well, especially around your eyes and nose.

Keep your house clean and a sealed as possible. Vacuum, clean walls, install a new vent system filter and change your bedding, before starting your clean zone program. If you go out in the evening, you have to shower again and toss your clothes in the laundry again.

If you are foolish enough to own a pet, the pet must stay outside, or you have to vacuum the pet before it comes back inside. Some pets actually like this once they get used to the noise.

In your car, keep the windows up. Use recirculation mode if you have that. Some cars have a cabin air filter. Change it often and vacuum your car often. Wipe down the dash and vents with a tacky cloth to remove pollen and dust.

If you can, have your vent ducts cleaned and install a very high grade filter.

Once you have cleaned your house, keep the windows closed and keep your contaminated clothing away from furniture and bedding. Try to shower every time that you go outside.

This process is a pain in the ass, but you will have a home that is very good at fighting pollen and dust, and you will be ahead of the game if we are ever nuked.

For the times that you are out, keep a saline spray in your car and at work. Use the saline spray (not a gel) to irrigate your sinuses and blow out any pollen and dust that you accumulated while out on the job or at lunch. Don’t overdo it with the saline, or you will dry out your sinuses. Just a light squirt before blowing your nose will work just fine.

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